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Full text of "History And Human Relation"

OFFICIAL HISTORY: ITS PITFALLS AND CRITERIA
governmental, sub-ministerial actors in the drama are
bound to be the real objective of a genuine enquiry into
British foreign policy; and the real secrets—indeed
the real problems in some of our minds—are situated in
the very nature of things at this level. It does not
require a knowledge of the materials that are withheld
from us to enable us to see that the documents which
are being published are insufficient for the genuine
reconstruction of British foreign policy.

. Since the printing of this particular material was
bound to represent the crucial issue, the complete
freedom which'the editors declare to have been given
to them by the Foreign Office has operated as a very
effective discipline. It is not surprising that an American
critic, referring to the case where the editor of documents
is at the same time the " official historian" of the
department concerned, should have pointed out how
civilians in such a position may develop " a security
consciousness even more pronounced than that of the
professional Foreign Office official". Since the Foreign
Office exercises the checks mentioned at the beginning
of this article; since its archives were for a long time open
to students generally only until, the i88o*s and this
period has recently been extended only until 1902 ; and
since the Foreign Office is notoriously canny if indepen-
dent enquirers require a free hand with materials twenty
years out of date, we should require firm proof of the
real willingness to give up the final secrets to scholars
in general. If documents are not open to scholarship
in general, the insistence on the completeness of the
liberty allowed by the Foreign Office may only testify

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